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Moisés J. Schwartz and Shinji Takagi

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

Mr. Tigran Poghosyan
This paper revisits the issue of cross-country spillovers from fiscal consolidations using an innovative empirical methodology. We find evidence in support of fiscal spillovers in 10 euro area countries. Fiscal consolidation in one country not only reduces domestic output (direct effect), but also the output of other member countries (indirect/spillover effect). Fiscal spillovers are larger for: (i) more closely located and economically integrated countries, and (ii) fiscal shocks originating from relatively larger countries. On average, 1 percent of GDP fiscal consolidation in 10 euro area countries reduces the combined output by 0.6 percent on impact, out of which half is driven by indirect effects from fiscal spillovers. The impact peters out and becomes insignificant over the medium-term. It is largely driven by tax measures, which have a relatively stronger effect on output compared to expenditure measures. The results are robust to alternative measures of bilateral links across countries.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office and International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Abstract

This volume book brings together nine background papers prepared for an evaluation by the IMF Independent Evaluation Office of “the IMF and the crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal.” It presents an authoritative work on the evolving relationship between the IMF and the euro area, a common currency area founded in 1999 consisting of advanced, highly integrated economies in Europe. The euro area, or any common currency area for that matter, has posed challenges to the IMF’s operational activities as its Articles of Agreement contain no provision for joint membership. The challenges became intense when a series of crises erupted in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal from 2009 to 2011, and the Fund was called upon to help intervene by offering its financing and crisis management expertise. The IMF found itself in uncharted territory where there was no precedent or established procedure. The chapters, many of which are prepared by prominent academics and former senior IMF officials who are thoroughly familiar with internal procedures, discuss various aspects of the IMF’s engagement with the euro area, including precrisis surveillance, how key decisions were made, how the IMF collaborated with European institutions, and how it designed and implemented its lending programs with the three crisis countries. The book gives prominence to governance-related issues, given the large voting share (of more than 20 percent) within the IMF of euro area members and the subsequent public perception that the IMF treated the euro area more favorably than it does developing and emerging market members. The approaches are both cross-cutting and country-based. Some chapters deal with issues related to the euro area as a whole, while others focus on how the Fund engaged with individual euro area countries. The book contains a statement on the IEO evaluation by the IMF Managing Director and a Summing Up of the Executive Board discussion held in July 2016.

International Monetary Fund
Executive Directors welcomed the report by the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) on the IMF and the Crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, and appreciated the accompanying statement by the Managing Director. They agreed that the report’s findings provide valuable insights and lessons for handling crises in members of currency unions. Directors underscored that the work of the IEO continues to play a vital role in enhancing the learning culture within the Fund, strengthening the Fund’s external credibility, and supporting the Executive Board’s oversight responsibilities. Directors broadly shared the general thrust of the IEO’s main findings and broadly endorsed its recommendations, with some caveats.
International Monetary Fund
This report summarizes the outcome of the IEO’s evaluation of The IMF and the Crises in Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, discussed by the Executive Board on July 19, 2016, and reports on recent follow-up and ongoing IEO work.
Eric Monnet and Mr. Damien Puy
This paper assesses the strength of business cycle synchronization between 1950 and 2014 in a sample of 21 countries using a new quarterly dataset based on IMF archival data. Contrary to the common wisdom, we find that the globalization period is not associated with more output synchronization at the global level. The world business cycle was as strong during Bretton Woods (1950-1971) than during the Globalization period (1984-2006). Although globalization did not affect the average level of co-movement, trade and financial integration strongly affect the way countries co-move with the rest of the world. We find that financial integration de-synchronizes national outputs from the world cycle, although the magnitude of this effect depends crucially on the type of shocks hitting the world economy. This de-synchronizing effect has offset the synchronizing impact of other forces, such as increased trade integration.
International Monetary Fund
External Study prepared by Jean Pisani-Ferry, André Sapir, and Guntram B. Wolff: This report provides an independent evaluation of recent IMF surveillance in the euro area (EA). It focuses on the euro area as a whole and on four countries severely hit by the recent economic and financial crisis, namely Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
This paper empirically evaluates four types of costs that may result from an international sovereign default: reputational costs, international trade exclusion costs, costs to the domestic economy through the financial system, and political costs to the authorities. It finds that the economic costs are generally significant but short-lived, and sometimes do not operate through conventional channels. The political consequences of a debt crisis, by contrast, seem to be particularly dire for incumbent governments and finance ministers, broadly in line with what happens in currency crises.